Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Burma has become a bloodshed

The AFP news agency also reported officials as saying that at least three monks had died in Burma, including one who was shot as he tried to take a firearm from a soldier. The agency also reported officials as saying that two other monks had been beaten to death in Burma.

A protester who was not a monk had died after being shot, it quoted Yangon General Hospital as saying. It is not known if these fatalities are the same as those reported by the Democratic Voice of Burma and the National Council of the Union of Burma.

Burma, unofficially the Union of Myanmar is the largest country by geographical area in mainland Southeast Asia. Burma achieved independence from the United Kingdom on 4 January 1948 as the “Union of Burma”. It became the “Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma” on 4 January 1974, before reverting to the “Union of Burma” on 23 September 1988. On 18 June 1989, the State Law and Order Restoration Council adopted the name “Union of Myanmar”. This was recognized by the United Nations.

Burma is bordered by the People’s Republic of China on the north, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west, and India on the northwest, with the Andaman Sea to the south, and the Bay of Bengal to the southwest. One-third of Myanmar’s total perimeter, 1,930 kilometres (1,199 mi), forms an uninterrupted coastline.

On September 24, 2007, 20,000 monks and nuns (the largest protest in 20 years) marched at the golden Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon. On Monday, 30,000 people led by 20,000 monks marched from Shwedagon Pagoda and past the offices of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

Myanmar’s comedian Zaganar and star Kyaw Thu brought food and water to the monks. On Saturday, monks marched to greet Aung San Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest. On Sunday, about 150 nuns joined the marchers. By this time, the marchers’ numbers had swelled to 100,000 protesters. The march covered 5 miles in the first few hours, passing Rangoon University) to Sule Pagoda and past the U.S. Embassy, inter alia, with 100 white-robed nuns.

Condoleezza Rice said the Bush administration was watching the situation “very carefully” – she said the people of Myanmar “deserve a life to be able to live in freedom, just as everyone does.” On September 25, 2007, 2,000 Buddhist monks and supporters defied threats from Burma’s junta. They marched to Rangoon streets at Shwedagon Pagoda amid army trucks and warning of Brigadier-General Thura Myint Maung not violate Buddhist “rules and regulations.

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